Scottish Borders on track for new opportunities – The Campaign for Borders Rail has received a top level boost following a meeting with Scotland Office minister, Iain Stewart MP.
He confirmed the UK Government’s support for the project and gave a commitment to drive the plans forward with his ministerial colleagues.
It was revealed that the feasibility work into extending the railway from Tweedbank to Carlisle will begin in September (2020).
The study has been made possible as a result of the Borderlands Growth Deal with funding coming from both the UK and Scottish governments.
A further £500m has been pledged from the Beeching Fund, provided by the UK Government, to support further investigation of the route.
Borders MP John Lamont said: “This was a really positive meeting. It was a great opportunity for the campaign group to highlight the benefits of extending the railway would bring to our local economy in the Borders.
“Minister Stewart provided us all with an update and I am delighted that the feasibility study will be starting very soon.
“The benefits that this project will bring to places like Hawick and Newcastleton will be significant and completely transformational. Connecting more Borders towns to transport hubs in Carlisle and Edinburgh will greatly improve our links to other parts of Scotland and the UK.
Marion Short, from Campaign for Borders Rail said: “Meeting with Minister Iain Stewart from the Scottish Office emphasises again that this Campaign has significance across every political portfolio.
“Bringing a railway back through Hawick and on to Carlisle sends a clear message of faith in the communities and commerce of the Borders.
“A through route for passengers and freight not only adds resilience and capacity to the network nationally, but also helps unlock the economic potential of the entire region.
“Of course, there is still a long way to go, and our work is by no means done. We must continue our current momentum and keep up the pressure on decision makers,” she said.